Am I the only one who detests the puny controllers that come with every game console? Plain old keyboard-like digital buttons, and a poor substitute for a joystick. Don't get me wrong -- those controllers are ideal for certain types of games, like side-scrollers or "pure" RPGs -- but the gaming industry has expanded into more genres by now.

Real Time Strategy games like Starcraft, first of all. They're one of the most popular genres on the PC, but to my knowledge they haven't particularly caught on in the console world. Why? No multiplayer, of course. But the next generation of consoles will fix that. But they still won't get popular if you have to control the pointer with silly digital buttons. Anyone play Ogre Battle for the SNES, where you had to do that? I gave up in frustration after the first few missions. And that was turn-based, IIRC. Real-time games against other people will be completely intolerable with such a controller.

Secondly, First Person Shooters like Doom. From my experience with PC games, I'm used to doing 180 degree turns with a flick of my hand, but with digital buttons, you have to turn like a tank turret. You end up with the developers adding ugly hacks, like the auto-aim in Goldeneye, and the monster-lock in Zelda, to compensate for the crappiness of the controller. It is just generally unpleasant, and unfair for multiplayer games; anyone who has met a good mouser will agree that they can flatten almost any keyboarder.

Console makers should get on with the times and add some sort of mouse-like device to their systems. And no, optional devices don't count; invariably, nobody ends up supporting them. A trackball would work pretty well; just put it on top of the controller, and gamers will accept it like another joystick. Perhaps an optical mouse on the underside of the controller would work as well. When one of them does this, that's when I'll buy a console.

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